Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have completed one of the first studies of mephedrone use in Northern Ireland since the drug was outlawed earlier this year. They found that the ban did not deter those mephedrone users surveyed from taking the substance.
Interviews with 23 mephedrone users were completed during a two-month period (May and June 2010) following the legislation that made the drug illegal in the UK. Study participants were aged 19 to 51 years, around half of whom (12) were female. 19 of the 23 people who took part in the study were employed, and most occupations were affiliated with business, trades, the service industry or the public sector.
The research was led by Dr Karen McElrath at Queen's School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.
The key findings from the study were:
Dr McElrath said: "This is one of the first studies into mephedrone use in Northern Ireland since it was made illegal earlier this year. The findings suggest that the ban did not have a significant impact on those who already used mephedrone, at least during the two-month period that followed the ban. We are keen to develop this research further and to compare our results with a similar study conducted in Waterford prior to the ban on mephedrone in the Republic of Ireland in May 2010."
The study was part of a cross-border research partnership with Marie Clare Van Hout at the Waterford Institute of Technology.
|Contact: Anne-Marie Clarke|
Queen's University Belfast